Tuesday, October 11, 2011


So, I’m kind of a strange one.

Because I’ve never done this Being Published thing before, I simply assume the way things have gone for me are the way things have gone for everyone. But, talking to my fellow Apocalypsies around our campfires at night, all cleaning the zombie juice off our shotguns and whatnot, I’ve discovered a lot of my experiences have been a little strange. Editing is no exception.

My book deal was strange, in that my trilogy was bought by SMP “in association with” Tor UK. This meant I essentially had two editors, one US based, one UK based. My US editor is a terrible nerd who plays video games (just like me). My UK editor is this lovely, exceedingly polite British woman with the voice of a phone sex operator. And they both had editorial input on my book. Which is… strange.

A lot of people ask if this was difficult, but it was actually brilliant. Different editors focus on different aspects – characters, visuals, internal thought processes, setting. I got two heads for the price of one, each highlighting what was important to them (male and female perspective really helped). Their notes were presented in one editorial letter which was, again, strange.

Pretty much every writer I know was asked to CUT from their manuscript during editorial rounds. Some folks I know got asked to cut 50,000 words (0.o). I got asked to ADD words. To flesh out the setting with all the little details I’d initially written and then cut for fear of boring people. The cool little scenes which served only to establish character personality or relationships with no ‘splosions in the background (I’m always afraid if there are no ‘splosions). I got to put all that back in, and more besides. Which was awesome. But, talking to the Apocaladies, it’s really strange.

Then, I started copy edits. The US and UK operate on different publication timelines (UK works further in advance, it seems). So my copy edits were done with the UK first (putting all the ‘U’s’ in ‘colour’ and ‘neighbour’, and changing ‘ass’ to ‘arse’, etc). And now I’m awaiting US copy edits, where I’ll have to change all that stuff back. Talking to everyone else, this is kinda strange too.

So, lesson for the day – don’t listen to anything I tell you about the editing process.


Jay Kristoff is the author of STORMDANCER, a dystopian fantasy set in steampunk feudal Japan, out in Spring 2012 through St Martin's Press & Tor UK.
He's even stranger here and here.


  1. Congratulations on your strrrrange editing experiences - it must have been fun being told to add sections into your manuscript. ;)

  2. Looking forward to this book of yours :D

  3. @Elaine - it was excellent fun. I'd written a lot of detail into the MS, then taken it out so the novel had reached a certain point by pg 50 (because agents are gonna ask for your first 50, at most). So being asked to put it back in (and tons more besides) was kinda like xmas.

    @Emily - 10pts for correct usage of the word 'arse' by a non-commonwealthian.

    @Gabbi - can't WAIT for you to read it :D